Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Kilman
One of the first Hollywood films to acknowledge homosexuality and AIDs, Philadelphia was praised by viewers and critics alike, resulting in an Academy Award win for lead actor Tom Hanks. The film has all the essentials for a quintessential tear jerker that could crush even the hardest of hearts: a man in a loving gay relationship is fired by a conservative law firm for having AIDs, and it's up to a homophobic lawyer to defend him for wrongful termination.
Sure, cynics can denounce the plot for being contrived and employing a straight actor to play a gay man, but it's still the kind of teaching film that plays in ethics classes. The fact that it's got Tom Hanks, a mega movie star, at the forefront only serves to advertise the film and get more butts in front of the screen to watch an undeniably important film they otherwise might not see. —TA